Scottish business briefing - July 24th 2013

Brian Souter: Argent Energy sold to John Swire & Sons. Picture: Robert PerryBrian Souter: Argent Energy sold to John Swire & Sons. Picture: Robert Perry
Brian Souter: Argent Energy sold to John Swire & Sons. Picture: Robert Perry
WELCOME to’s Scottish Business Briefing. Every morning we bring you a comprehensive round-up of all news affecting business in Scotland today.


TECHNOLOGY developed in Scotland that turns chip fat into bio-diesel for buses is poised to be launched around the world after a company backed by Sir Brian Souter was sold to the owner of the Cathay Pacific airline in a deal believed to be worth £80 million. Motherwell-based Argent Energy was snapped up by John Swire & Sons, a London-based conglomerate that owns companies spread across industries including food, property and shipping.

ENERGY services firm Wood Group has won a contract worth up to £450 million from Exxon-Mobil, the world’s biggest oil company, to work on its sites in Papua New Guinea. Under the deal, the Aberdeen-based firm will provide construction, engineering and maintenance services for Esso Highlands’ liquefied natural gas (LNG) operations.

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Gas meter supplier Energy Assets today said it was confident of delivering continued growth as it reported a jump in revenues for the first quarter. The Livingston-based firm, which last week teamed up with metering giant Elster to jointly develop products, said revenues during the three months to 30 June grew to £5.5 million, an increase of 49 per cent on the same period last year.


Kingfisher, the owner of DIY chains B&Q and Screwfix, has reported a recovery in sales helped by better weather. Like-for-like sales, which exclude new store openings, rose 2.5% for the 10 weeks to 13 July. Sales of outdoor and seasonal products at B&Q stores jumped 20% and accounted for almost 40% of the chain’s sales.


The Scottish construction sector may finally be turning a corner with the number of new projects beginning to rise, according to a new survey. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said industry activity appeared to be “edging upwards”. It recorded an 11% rise in the number of surveyors reporting increases in workloads in the second quarter of the year.


Join expert speakers including: Michael Moore MP & Secretary of State for Scotland; Scott McLarty of Spirit AeroSystems; Gavin Campbell of Bombardier and Murdo Morrison of Flight International as they discuss the big issues facing the UK aerospace industry. For full details see The Scotsman Conferences website.

Motor dealer John R Weir has recorded a 184% increase in profit in the year its founder sold the business to Arnold Clark. The industry giant took over its smaller rival in September last year for an undisclosed sum. Now annual accounts filed at Companies House show turnover at John R Weir actually dipped 1.4% in the 12 months to October 31, 2012, from £92.1 million to £90.8m.

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